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    The Fire in Fiction

    Categories: Books.

    The Fire in Fiction

    by Donald Maass
    Writer’s Digest Books, 2009
    ISBN-13: 978-1-58297-506-1
    ISBN-10: 1-58297-506-X
    $17.99 paperback, 272 pages

    Buy Now

    Read an Excerpt!

    Find out how to develop your story around its most pivotal moments in this excerpt from Chapter Two: Characters Who Matter.

    About the Book
    We’ve all read them: novels by our favorite authors that disappoint. Uninspired and lifeless, we wonder what happened. Was the author in a hurry? Did she have a bad year? Has he lost interest altogether?

    Something similar is true of a great many unpublished manuscripts. They are okay stories that never take flight. They are unoriginal. They don’t grip the imagination, let alone the heart. They merit only a shrug and a polite dismissal by agents and editors. It’s almost as if the author is afraid to truly commit to the story.

    It doesn’t have to be that way. In The Fire in the Fiction, successful literary agent and author Donald Maass shows you not only how to infuse your story with deep conviction and fiery passion, but how to do it over and over again. The book features:

    •    Techniques for capturing a special time and place, creating characters whose lives matter, nailing multiple-impact plot turns, making the supernatural real, infusing issues into fiction, and more.
    •    Story-enriching exercises at the end of every chapter to show you how apply the practical tools just covered to your own work.
    •    Rich examples drawn from contemporary novels as diverse as The Lake House, Water for Elephants, and Jennifer Government to illustrate how various techniques work in actual stories.

    Plus, Maass introduces an original technique that any novelist can use any time, in any scene, in any novel, even on the most uninspired day … to take the most powerful experiences from your personal life and turn those experiences directly into powerful fiction.

    Tap into The Fire in Fiction, and supercharge your story with originality and spark!

    About the Author
    Donald Maass heads the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York City, which represents more than 150 novelists and sells more than 150 novels every year to publishers in America and overseas. He is a past president of the Association of Authors Representatives, Inc., and is the author of several books of interest to fiction writers: The Career Novelist (now available as a free download from his agency’s Web site), Writing the Breakout Novel, and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. His Web site is www.maassagency.com.

    Table of Contents

    Status Seekers and Storytellers
    Playing With Fire

    Chapter 1: Protagonists vs. Heroes

    Average Joes, Jane Does, and Dark Protagonists
    Cutting Heroes Down to Size
    Protagonists vs. Heroes
    Practical Tools

    Chapter 2 : Characters Who Matter
    Practical Tools

    Chapter 3: Scenes That Can’t Be Cut
    Outer and Inner Turning Points
    Striding Forward, Falling Back
    First Lines, Last Lines
    The Tornado Effect
    Practical Tools

    Chapter 4 : The World of the Novel

    Linking Details and Emotions
    Measuring Change Over Time
    History is Personal
    Seeing Through Characters’ Eyes
    Conjuring a Milieu
    Setting as a Character
    Practical Tools

    Chapter 5: A Singular Voice
    Giving Characters Voice
    Details and Delivery
    Different Ways of Relating a Story
    Practical Tools

    Chapter 6: Making the Impossible Real

    The Skeptical Reader
    Making Characters Afraid
    Focus on Villains
    Verisimilitude: Pseudoscience, Genuine Facts
    Scary Monsters
    Practical Tools

    Chapter 7: Hyperreality
    The Secrets of Satire
    Funny People, Funny Places
    Sending Up Society
    Funny Voices
    Practical Tools

    Chapter 8: Tension All the Time
    Tension in Dialogue
    Tension in Action
    Tension in Exposition
    Transforming Low-Tension Traps
    Tension Where There Is None
    Practical Tools

    Chapter 9: The Fire in Fiction

    Our Common Experience
    Our Uncommon Experiences
    The Moral of the Story
    The Fire in Fiction
    Practical Tools

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